Following similar deals in Altrincham town centre, the partners are understood to have agreed a deal for Stretford Mall, a key piece in the jigsaw for the council’s masterplan for the area.
A deal is understood have been agreed between the partnership and owner M&M Asset Management for the mall, which has seen declining footfall in the past decade.
M&M has already embarked on a major overhaul of the plot, demolishing around 61,000 sq ft of vacant retail space, as well as the O’Briens pub, to create improved access, updated facades, a new entrance, and green spaces fronting Chester Road.
Tenants at the mall include Aldi, Boots, Clarks, Costa Coffee, Heron Foods, and Holland & Barrett. While the vacancy rate remains high a series of new openings have boosted the mall including beer bar Head and a food hall run by the owner of Manchester’s Ancoats General Store.
A masterplan for Stretford was brought forward by the council in January last year; this includes student accommodation schemes and several sites earmarked for redevelopment, including at Lacy Street and the Essoldo Cinema.
As part of the masterplan, the council had mooted using Compulsory Purchase Order powers around Edge Lane to bring forward more development around the mall, and had been looking to redevelop the areas around King Street and Arndale House to create “more accessible and outward-looking town centre”.
The move to buy the mall also increases Bruntwood and the council’s footprint within the Stretford and Old Trafford area; earlier this week, another venture between the council and developer revealed initial plans to build a mixed-use scheme around the former Kellogg’s Building opposite Lancashire County Cricket Club’s Emirates Stadium.
Under the initial masterplan, being drawn up by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and Planit-IE, the partnership will submit an application for up to 200,000 sq ft of offices and education space; 750 residential units; a primary school of up to 75,000 sq ft; a 48,000 sq ft local centre; an hotel with 100 bedrooms; and a 6,500 sq ft energy centre, along with public open space. Avison Young is advising on planning.
The move is part of a wider deal with M&M which has seen Bruntwood and Trafford take over the 367,000 sq ft Stamford Quarter in Altrincham, and the former Clarendon House office, also in Altrincham.
The council and Bruntwood have set up three special-purpose companies as part of the deal – Trafford Bruntwood (Stretford Mall), Trafford Bruntwood (Stamford Quarter), and Trafford Bruntwood (Clarendon House), all of which are limited liability partnerships.
A limited company, Bruntwood Trafford Holdings, was also set up earlier this summer; it lists Bruntwood financial director of investments Sean Davies as its sole director. Bruntwood Trafford Holdings, along with Trafford Council, are listed as the two members of all three limited liability partnerships.
The deals struck with M&M Asset Management in Altrincham mean the council controls much of Altrincham’s retail core, having also purchased the Grafton Centre at the opposite end of George Street last year.
Existing tenants across the Stamford Quarter include Boots, H&M, Greggs, Next, Pure Gym, River Island, Paperchase, WH Smith, Wilko, Waterstones, EE, CEX, and Domino’s Pizza. It also houses a Debenhams but this is set to shut under a programme of store closures announced by the retailer earlier this year.
This area also falls under Trafford’s wider Civic Quarter masterplan, which was this year extended to take in additional sites including Greater Manchester Police’s data centre off Boyer Street, the Club 300 Bingo, and Audi workshop opposite Trafford Bar Metrolink stop.
The masterplan also includes a civic square which will focus on the junction between Talbot Road, Brian Statham Way, and Warwick Road.
A spokesperson for Trafford Council said: “We are in negotiations to acquire Stretford Mall and the Stamford Quarter in Altrincham but no agreement has been finalised yet.
“The Council has an agreed investment strategy and we are always looking for opportunities that will help us deliver on the priorities of our corporate plan and build the best future for everyone in Trafford. We believe the proposed acquisition of these two sites would support the continuing regeneration of our town centres.
“We will make no further comment on the negotiations until they have concluded.”
Bruntwood declined to comment.